Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Fox News: Police Say South Carolina Spree Killer Had Long Rap Sheet:

The serial killer who terrorized a South Carolina community by shooting five people to death before police killed him Monday was a career criminal paroled just two months ago, authorities said.

Patrick Burris, 41, was shot to death by officers investigating a burglary complaint at a home in Gastonia, N.C., 30 miles from where the killing spree started June 27. Bullets in his gun matched those that killed residents in and around Gaffney over six days last week, said State Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd....

Burris had a long rap sheet filled with charges such as larceny, forgery and breaking and entering from states across the Southeast, including Florida, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. He had been paroled from a North Carolina prison in April after serving nearly eight years.

"Look at this," Lloyd said, waiving a stapled copy of Burris' criminal record. "This is like 25 pages. At some point the criminal justice system is going to need to explain why this suspect was out on the street."


Yes, wouldn't you like an explanation? It seems that sometimes, the longer the rap sheet, the shorter the prison stay. Perhaps judges who put these criminals back on the streets should be held accountable in some way.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Dave Cornutt said...

This sort of thing is why three-strikes laws exist. I know what the usual complaint about this is: "You're going to give someone a life sentence for burglary?" The proper response is: "No, we're not giving him a life sentence for burglary. We're giving him a life sentence for being a habitual criminal."

10:12 AM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger fred said...

3 strikes no longer works. No money for locking away folks. Sure: why on the streets but then: how did he get guns? Oddly, we get critical of that part we dislike and ignore something we would not like to confront.

10:28 AM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger Bill said...

Well, Fred, odds are he either stole them, or bought them illegally. Not seeing the rap sheet in question, I can't say for certain, but odds are, he was a convicted felon. It was illegal for him to own or possess a gun.

So (guess what?) he broke the law and got guns illegally.

Bill

10:41 AM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger Erik said...

Judges should be held accountable in some way. Assuming of course that they weren't constrained by the law, and by that I mean if the max penalty he could have been given was 8 years and it was given then he could not have sentenced to more than that. But as it stands we see numerous bad decisions and a systemic female sentencing discount. And thats not even mentioning the "family" courts.

To be fair tho, when one considers the overall crime rate we rarely hear of such outrageous crimes that could have been prevented by the judiciary.

10:48 AM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger God Of Bacon said...

The electric chair is inefficient. I'm a strong advocate of electric bleachers.

12:34 PM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Here's a thought. Quit incarcerating people for doing things you don't like, but are harmless (except maybe to themselves). Then you'd have room for the likes of this waste of skin.

As for parole, if the board was required to house the parolees for a while, I'd guess a lot less of the violent ones would get out.

1:09 PM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger Trust said...

Probably let him out to make room for "white collar" criminals like Madoff. Now, I'm not saying I feel much sympathy for a crook like Madoff, but I'm saying the law of unintended consequences is impacting the safety of citizens.

I know what some will say, white collar criminals do damage, and there is no proof that this had anything to do with why this monster was set free. But it is just common sense that a place in prison taken by a nonviolent criminal (be it white collar or drug user, not dealer) is one not available for a violent criminal, such as this monster and Mary Winkler.

As bad as people like Madoff are, does anyone really believe society is better served by treating him worse than a violent criminal? Is there any chance a white collar criminal will ever be trusted with power again, whereas a violent criminal has access to plenty of victims?

I unfortunately think part of the problem is we are over emphasizing white collar crimes since they are considered 'right wing' crimes.

There are plenty people dead today because we don't keep the right people locked up.

*steps down from soap box*

1:18 PM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger EKatz said...

"Is there any chance a white collar criminal will ever be trusted with power again, whereas a violent criminal has access to plenty of victims?"

White collar criminals are often naively trusted with power, even when details of their misdeeds come to light. Look at how many of them get re-elected time and again to Congress, for example, no matter how many financial scandals and unethical shenanigans they're embroiled in.

Not trying to be flippant here... I agree with your point that we need to do a better job locking away the truly violent criminals, it's just that white collar criminals will readily get up to their tricks again as soon as they think they're not being held accountable... and what's more, the public lets them, even though the damage to society and people's lives - while not directly physical - is often extensive. So while I'm not comparing Madoff to a serial killer or a pedophile or another violent criminal, we need to consider effective ways to deter white collar criminals as well.

2:29 PM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger God Of Bacon said...

Execution cures recidivism every time.

3:11 PM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger Dave Cornutt said...

"Here's a thought. Quit incarcerating people for doing things you don't like, but are harmless (except maybe to themselves)."

Actually, you won't get an argument from me.

3:35 PM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger Dr.D said...

God of Bacon most certainly has a point. If we would go back to executing the people we should execute, and get rid of all these life sentences, our prison populations would decrease and we would have room to keep the people we need to keep.

Almost every crime that today is given life in prison really justifies the death penalty. We should go back to doing what we ought to do, and have a more sane society as a result. People will say that is barbaric, but I would argue it is not as barbaric as locking someone up for 60 years. Others will argue that we may execute the wrong man. We must be serious about our criminal justice system, not make it political, and be sure that it is a JUSTICE system, not the show that it often is today.

The death penalty works.

4:47 PM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger Trust said...

@EKatz said... "White collar criminals are often naively trusted with power, even when details of their misdeeds come to light."
____

You do have a point, and I did overstate my argument. One key difference--when a white collar criminal is a repeat offender, it seldom results in a corpse. Financial crimes may be difficult to repair, but murder is impossible to fix.

4:52 PM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

"Financial crimes may be difficult to repair, but murder is impossible to fix."

Well stated.

Trey

7:42 PM, July 07, 2009  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

Three strikes does work. Economically, society benefits more by paying the cost to permanently lock away violent criminals than by paying the costs of their individual crimes.

In California, criminals leave the state after 2 strikes.

The high cost of incarceration is a choice too, not a fact of life. I am certain Mexican prisons are much cheaper to operate. We could free up a lot of space by paying Mexico to jail thier own citizens.

10:48 AM, July 08, 2009  

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